Monica Lewinsky walked off stage during a live interview after a journalist asked her about her affair with the former president

Monica Lewinsky at the 2017 Vanity Fair Oscar Party
Monica Lewinsky at the 2017 Vanity Fair Oscar Party

The former White House intern has made peace with the scandal that transpired all those years ago, but some people just won’t let it go.

For years, Monica Lewinsky was treated as a joke and her career and life were severely affected by her affair with then President of the U.S., Bill Clinton. She was dragged in the media, was made a laughing stock and cast as the homewrecker for her role. 

It took a long time for Monica to come back into the public eye and feel comfortable talking to the press again. In February she penned a moving essay about how the #MeToo movement helped her reevaluate her experiences with former President Bill Clinton when she was a young intern on Capitol Hill.

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She’s also been working on defying the internalised misogyny that led her to blame herself for what happened— even though she was a 22-year-old intern at the time (and he was the most powerful man in the country). So when a journalist asked her about the Clinton affair in a live interview, Lewinsky put her foot down and walked off stage.

CNN reports that during an interview in Jerusalem with Hadashot News anchor Yonit Lev, Monica ended the conversation when asked if she still wanted a private apology from Bill Clinton.

"I'm sorry, I'm not going to be able to do this," Monica reportedly said before setting down her mic and leaving.

The evening after the incident, Monica took to Twitter to explain what had happened, writing that the interview was meant to be about the “perils and positives of the internet.”

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She said that she and Lev had previously met to set “clear parameters” about what they would discuss onstage, and that she had been clear that questions about Clinton were “off limits.” Monica wrote that Lev had shown “blatant disregard” for these parameters.

"I left because it is more important than ever for women to stand up for themselves and not allow others to control their narrative," Monica wrote. "To the audience: I'm very sorry that this talk had to end this way."

In a statement to CNN, Hadashot News defended Lev’s question, saying that the organisation had “stood up to all of its agreements with Ms. Lewinsky.”

"We believe the question asked on stage was legitimate and respectful, and one that certainly does not go beyond Ms. Lewinsky's requests and does not cross the line," the statement continued.

But what does Bill Clinton think of the idea of apologising to Monica after all these years?

In an interview with Today in June, Bill dismissed the idea saying that he had already publicly apologised so he didn’t think a private one was necessary. He later clarified his comments on the Late Show, stating that he was indeed sorry and that the #MeToo movement was “long overdue, necessary, and should be supported.”

Monica has written and spoken at length about the pain the extremely public investigation caused her—and how it took her years to regain her sense of self and self-worth.

Thanks to the era of #MeToo and social media helping us to communicate in a way we never have before, we now know that conversations about abuse of power and workplace dynamics, etc are necessary and important. We might have failed Monica and women like her for years, but with the knowledge we have now, we can start doing better. 

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